Number of regularisations falls

There has been a drop in the number of people who are being regularised and are being given the right paperwork to stay in the country legally. The figures pertain to the first six months of the year when Belgium's Immigration Department regularised fewer undocumented people than in recent years.

If the trend persists the number of people given leave to stay in the country legally will be a lot smaller this year in comparison with previous years.

In the year up to July 2,629 undocumented people obtained a residence permit on humanitarian and medical grounds. If regularisation levels stay the same for the rest of the year a total of 5,000 undocumented people will be regularised by the end of the year.

Since 2005 the number of regularisations has averaged around 10,000 annually. In 2009 and 2010 the figures were higher due to regularisation campaigns when conditions were relaxed.

Freddy Roosemont of the Immigration Department: "The ramifications of the campaigns are still noticeable. In 2009 the then government decided to allow individual regularisations on the basis of clear criteria. As a result a lot of people were regularised in the course of 2009 and 2010. A lot of dossiers that stood a good chance were dealt with in this period. The dossiers being considered now had little chance of success."